An Automatically Tuning Intrusion Detection System

Zhenwei Yu
Jeffrey J.-P. Tsai
Thomas Weigert, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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An intrusion detection system (IDS) is a security layer used to detect ongoing intrusive activities in information systems. Traditionally, intrusion detection relies on extensive knowledge of security experts, in particular, on their familiarity with the computer system to be protected. To reduce this dependence, various data-mining and machine learning techniques have been deployed for intrusion detection. An IDS is usually working in a dynamically changing environment, which forces continuous tuning of the intrusion detection model, in order to maintain sufficient performance. The manual tuning process required by current systems depends on the system operators in working out the tuning solution and in integrating it into the detection model. In this paper, an automatically tuning IDS (ATIDS) is presented. The proposed system will automatically tune the detection model on-the-fly according to the feedback provided by the system operator when false predictions are encountered. The system is evaluated using the KDDCup'99 intrusion detection dataset. Experimental results show that the system achieves up to 35% improvement in terms of misclassification cost when compared with a system lacking the tuning feature. If only 10% false predictions are used to tune the model, the system still achieves about 30% improvement. Moreover, when tuning is not delayed too long, the system can achieve about 20% improvement, with only 1.3% of the false predictions used to tune the model. The results of the experiments show that a practical system can be built based on ATIDS: system operators can focus on verification of predictions with low confidence, as only those predictions determined to be false will be used to tune the detection model.